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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Our Dipping Oil Herb Blend

Hi everyone!

I just thought I would share another favorite use for our Dipping Oil Herb Blend

recipe 138 I sliced a loaf of bread into 3 large slices and spread butter on each.

recipe 137 Then sprinkled about 1/3 of this package of Dipping Oil Herb Blend onto the buttered slices.

recipe 139I said a 1/3 of the package because I used half of it in the above picture and it was to much. so, go lighter than I did.

recipe 144Place on a foil covered baking sheet and into a 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Just keep checking it until is is golden.

recipe 145And enjoy!

Adding some shredded mozzarella cheese or parmesan cheese would be awesome!  And maybe some sliced tomatoes.

I hope our local customers try our blends in different ways.

I will be posting more options for using our herb products soon!

They are Runnin’ Amuck!

Hi everyone!

Holy cow! Our herbs here at home are going crazy! I need to seriously find a good chunk of time to harvest them soon!

Outdoor2011spring 084Barrels of Peppermint and Spearmint! I have never harvested the mint flowers. I think I am going to do that and play around with some recipes using them.

Outdoor2011spring 085Time to cut and dry some dill and dill seeds! And in the background you can see a sage plant ready to be cut back and dried as well.

Outdoor2011spring 086More dill. Some purple basil and oregano all need harvesting!

Outdoor2011spring 087The lemon balm is just huge! And it needs to be harvested first because we dry and sell this one. It is a popular dried herb of ours because it is very difficult to find dried lemon balm. Customers are always asking for it.

Outdoor2011spring 088Lemon Verbena, more purple basil and some thyme are so ready to be cut! 

This is about 1/3 of our herbs here at home. They are all doing amazing!  And I have said it before, but just walking near these herbs, the smells are so wonderful! If for no other reason, planting herbs just for the scent would be something I would do!

All of our plants are completely grown chemical free. We have had such great success growing all of our herbs naturally that I can’t even image using any chemicals! 

We have several neighbors who come over and ask to buy some for our fresh herbs here at home because they are making some recipe right then and there that requires certain herbs. They all know we have a lot of fresh herbs here. We tell them to just pick what they need. Then it never fails, a couple of hours later we end up with a bowl of whatever they just cooked/baked. LOL

I am also posting this on our DTL Herbs Blog .


Don’t forget you still have time to enter the Yoplait “Pink Lids” Prize Package giveaway!

yoplait_prizepackJust click the picture above!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Is it an Herb or a Spice?

We grow our own herbs whenever possible, and enjoy the fresh herbs in season, as well as dried herbs throughout the year.

Growing herbs can be a fun and satisfying way to add a little extra to your cooking, as well as an addition to your garden.

Often at the markets we will have someone come to our table and ask for Cinnamon, or Cumin, or Nutmeg. They will look at our display and then ask if we have a spice blend for making chili.

When I do presentations, it is not uncommon to have several question arise about how to use one spice or the other.

Hardest of all for me, and the one that makes me bite my tongue, is when a family will walk past our stand at the market and I hear a child ask "What is this" and the parent replies, "Those are spices."

We really grow very few things that can be classified as a spice, although there are a few that are right on the border. To complicate things a bit, we do add a small amount of spices to some of our blends.

"So," I hear you asking, "What is the difference between an herb and a spice?"

Well, I'm glad you asked that question.

In a very broad sense, any plant is an herb, animals that eat plants are herbivores. But in a more specific sense, the dictionary defines Herb as a useful plant. And finally, we have the culinary distinction.

Ever since Colonel Sanders started using his secret recipe of '11 herbs and spices', the words 'herb' and 'spice' have become interchangeable in many minds.

But herbs and spices are actually very different.

The seasonings that we generally classify as HERBS are usually those that are derived from the leaf of a plant.

The seasonings we generally classify as SPICES are usually those derived from the bark and seeds of a plant.

Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (
Rodale Books, 2009) gives readers the following rules of thumb for telling spices and herbs apart:

• "Leaves, both fresh and dried, are normally called herbs, while seeds, roots, fruits, flowers or bark are spices.

• Herbs more frequently grow in temperate regions, while spices come from the tropics.

• Herbs are green and often have more subtle tastes; spices tend to be shades of brown, black or red, with dramatic pungent flavor."

Of course, even in this definition, there is wiggle room. Note use of the words 'normally', 'usually', 'frequently'. Take garlic, for example, a member of the onion family. The great Garlic Controversy over whether it is an herb or a spice is filled with self proclaimed experts who will tell you it is one, the other, both or neither. Which one is right is anybody's guess.

Horseradish, a plant that has very limited application for anything except the root, was designated the Herb Of The Year for 2011 by the International Herb Association. (Horseradish leaves are edible and can be used in salads when young and tender, but become tough, woody and stringy as they mature.)

So even the best rules of thumb are made to be broken.

But generally, if it comes from a part of a tree, the odds are pretty good that we don't grown it, or produce it here at DTL Herbs LTD. We are currently focusing on the low growing leafy plants most commonly referred to as herbs.

Allspice, basil, mace, thyme, peppercorn, anise, paprika, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and cardamom are examples of spices.

Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram, tarragon, mint, cilantro, chervil, lavender, savory, and chives are some examples of herbs.

I hope that helps!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Guest Chef Stephanie from Peace Love, and Home

Hi everyone!

Today's Guest Chef is Stephanie, from Peace, Love and Home, with her recipe for: Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Rice Gratin w/ Fresh Herbs.
Stephanie cooks vegetarian food, with an emphasis on natural, organic and whole foods, so beside just being good, this dish is bound to be good for you!

Stephanie, feel free to add our Guest Chef badge to your sidebar.

Here is her post:

Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Rice Gratin w/ Fresh Herbs

I was concerned about my zucchini and squash plants in mid June when I first noticed some squash bugs hanging out on them. This is my third year growing vegetables. 2007, 2008, and this year. In 2008 I waged war on squash bugs and lost and I decided I wasn't going to put myself and the bugs through all that again. I just picked up the bugs and threw them into the woods. Anyway, I had decided that gardening is about the process, not the results. I enjoy digging in the dirt, listening to the birds and admiring nature.

I considered buying some organic pesticide, but I really didn't want to spend the money. Anyway, I couldn't sprinkle a bunch of poison around those plants. Organic or not it would kill bugs and the garden is well populated with really large beautiful garden spiders and many more innocent bugs. A few zucchini wouldn't be worth all that. I weeded, watered, mulched and just let things be.

I have one zucchini plant and one yellow crook neck squash. Both heirloom varieties from Uwharrie Heirlooms. These plants are awesome. They are strong and healthy and producing plenty of delicious fruit. There are still a few squash bugs but there are also still a bunch of spiders and other beneficial insects. The garden is in natural balance.

Yesterday, after harvesting basil, oregano, thyme, tomatoes, and zucchini I created this gratin for our dinner. It was really delicious. We had it with a salad which included homegrown green peppers, cucumbers, and more purple basil, along with homemade ranch dressing.

Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Rice Gratin w/ Fresh Herbs
adapted from this

3 cups cooked brown rice
1 ½ pounds zucchini, sliced ¼ inch thick
5-6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound San Marzano tomatoes, sliced ¼ thick
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (basil, thyme, oregano)
½ cup grated Italian Blend Cheese (mozzarella, provolone, asiago, parmesan, romano), divided

Toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a shallow baking pan. Toss tomatoes with 1/2 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in another baking pan.

Roast zucchini in upper third of oven and tomatoes in lower third at 450° F., turning vegetables once halfway through roasting, until tender and light golden, about 10 minutes for tomatoes; 20 minutes for zucchini. Leave oven on.

Meanwhile, saute onion and garlic with 1/2 teaspoon salt in 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet, until soft and translucent about 7- 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in herbs.
Stir together onion mixture, cooked rice, eggs, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground pepper. Spread half of rice mixture in a shallow 2-quart baking dish, then top with half of zucchini. Spread remaining rice mixture over zucchini, then top with remaining zucchini. Top with tomatoes and drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Sprinkle extra basil leaves on top.

Bake until set and golden brown, about 15 - 20 minutes.